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Coppa Italia top priority for AC Milan

Under-fire AC Milan coach Sinisa Mihajlovic has insisted the Coppa Italia remains a big target for his side.

Milan take on Sampdoria in the Coppa Italia round of 16 on Thursday and Mihajlovic will not be resting players despite the club languishing in seventh place in Serie A.

"We’re playing in Europe, so the Coppa Italia is an important objective," Mihajlovic said.

"We have the quality to win."

Mihajlovic said Japanese star Keisuke Honda was available for the cup clash, but said he was not guaranteed a return to the starting XI.

"You'll have to ask Honda what's wrong. He could have taken advantage of the opportunities that he's had," Mihajlovic said.

"He is an important player, but if someone is playing better than him, then the other one plays.

"He's available and he will be among the 23 players called up. We'll see if he plays."

One player who definitely will not take part is on-loan forward Mario Balotelli, who Mihajlovic confirmed has been struck down with fever, while defender Luca Antonelli will not be risked from the start, despite being fit enough for the match day squad.

"We won't risk Antonelli, we'll bring him on the bench, but he's in the group and he's available," Mihajlovic said.